The pentacle is a five-pointed star set inside a circle. It has many meanings for pagans, but its main purpose is protection. It can protect property, people and energy, and is useful when you feel under threat or in need of protection.
For protective purposes, you can draw it with a pen, brush or pencil, or just with your fingers. To protect yourself or another person, draw it above your or their head, then grab the edges and imagine stretching it down around you or them until the edges meet under the feet.
When drawing a pentacle, always begin at the top point and start by tracing the left side of the star to the bottom left point.
Then head towards the top right point, then top left, then bottom right and back to the top, followed by drawing the circle around it clockwise (otherwise known as deosil). It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect. Your intention and the power of the symbol are enough. Many pagans always use the symbol point up, as used the other way, it can symbolise negative energies and ‘evil’ spirits.
The pentacle can also represent the five elements – Spirit (at the top), then following the order in which the symbol is traced, Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Other meanings can be given as well, such as attributing each point to a deity or spirit you wish to work with, eg the triple goddess and double god. To some, it signifies a human being, with the top point being the head and the other points the arms and legs.
While it is generally associated with all five of the elements, it can also be used as a symbol of Earth, and for the purposes of grounding yourself into physical reality. If you have just completed a working, meditation or other piece of spiritual work and need to bring yourself back to the Earth plane, drawing a pentacle in the air can be one way to do this.
Many pagans like to wear one or more pentacles, in jewellery, printed on a T-shirt, as a key ring, brooch or badge, or even as a tattoo. Those who have a permanent altar often have a pentacle on it in some form, such as on an altar cloth or wooden disk. Pentacles are often decorated with other symbolic images, such as oak leaves, ivy, animals or moons.
Pentacles are often one of the suits in a tarot deck, which is the suit of physical reality, money, health and Earth.
The Pentacle can be drawn after casting a circle for ritual purposes, while calling in the quarters. Draw it in the air while invoking each quarter.
The Pentacle can also be used for banishing purposes, including when dismissing the quarters after a ritual. For this, you would start at the top point and draw the right-hand line first, continuing to draw the five-pointed start backwards. The circle should still be drawn clockwise.